Category Archives: Evangelism
Yesterday was Earth Day – A day when hippies from around the world unite in geothermal bliss reminding the world yet again that the sky is not just falling, but that the earth is dying as well. Now I know that not every earth-bug is a hippie and not every environmentally conscience citizen is an alarmist; but there is no doubt that when it comes to the ‘green topic’, nostrils begin to flare and sensibility usually gets beaten with hemp shards so that she can no longer speak.
What I find interesting in this ecological debate is the fact that many Christians are not leading the charge. We who know and understand what God has said should be the biggest and most vocal advocates of the Earth; yet like many things the godless have hijacked the agenda. Believers should be aggressively inventorying catalogs of eco-friendly solutions since God has given us the earth and has committed it to our care as blessed superintendents.
“…Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28
To ‘subdue’ and ‘rule over’ in no way indicates destruction, desolation, or pollution. We, and not cattle, are made in the image of God and we, and not lizards or snails or eagles or dogs, are the caretakers of the earth. The problem with the green movement is that it is motivated by a corrupted nature that sees the world upside down – a world where the creatures and the created are worthy of worship and the Creator is relegated into an old woman named Mother Earth.
We know that since the beginning of creation man has clearly seen God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and His divine nature through the very things that He has made. But due to his sin-corrupted nature, man does not give thanks to God for the beauty of the world. Instead, he becomes futile in his understanding and invents endless theories and speculations while declaring that he is wise.
As a result of man’s rejection of God as supreme Creator, man has created all manner of gods and goddesses and altars and shrines and stone temples. Mankind has exchanged the incorruptible image and glory of the true and living God for a plastic banana wrap in religious cellophane. Man has adopted the corruptible image of the creature and worshiped it rather than He. The truth has been exchanged for a lie.
So now we see large demonstrations of green-friendly people who have rejected the One who invented green and the ones who should be the most green somehow end up on the outside. I believe that we have a GREEN mandate, a mandate from God to be good stewards of the earth and we should be the loudest party goers on Earth Day, but not because we celebrate the earth itself. We should be the loudest voice because the earth proclaims the glory of our Father to a world lost in blindness.
The next time you see a green hippie use that moment to testify to the author of green whose intense wonder and glory and beauty and majesty is seen even in a small sprout.
Supposedly Nero fiddled while Rome burned. There are times when I think we’re just fiddling away as well. Time is vaporized within the redemptive narrative as we find ourselves as points along an historical line. But this time line is not without purpose or reason; it is not the random whim of circumstance. Instead, it is the divinely set course of events in redemptive history whereby the decrees of God are actualized.
Now any sane person would realize quite readily that they really can’t comprehend such a grand scheme, but most have only heard of the goodness. In fact, with the dilution of the gospel becoming a pulpit water sport in our modernity the notion of ‘wrath’ and ‘curse’ and ‘damnation’ are seen as remnants of days gone by when people believed in pitch-forked demons and cancers caused by cantankerous forces of doom.
Be that as it may, the reality of the Day of the Lord does not change. The reality of this world being cursed by God and under His wrath remains true. The reality of the coming judgment of Christ when on the unknown day and hour He will judge the living and the dead in final justice and mercy stays as true today as it was the first day it was revealed through the prophets.
Salvation from God’s wrath is only found by faith in the completed work of Christ by a heart that fully affirms and believes that He and He alone has fulfilled the divine requirements of perfection. I would like to draw your attention to great reminder of this curse and blessing by pointing you to a grandfather in the pulpit – R. C. Sproul.
Listen to this message and drop your fiddle.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” 2 Timothy 4:1-2
I just received a link to a story about the martyrdom of three brothers in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch. Read this account and pray. It is a stark reminder of what persecution exists in our dark world.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
The world. Such a simple word and yet it causes plenty controversy in the faith. Laying aside soteriological discussions I’d like to make a comment about the confusion between ‘the world’ and ‘the culture’ or between ‘worldliness’ and ‘cultural’ or to put it another way, the difference between being ‘in the world’ and being ‘of the world’.
Being worldly is to accept the things of this life as your rule of thumb. To be worldly is to find your happiness in the things of this life and to find your joy in them. To be worldly is to follow the philosophies of this life and its principles and wisdom, particularly when they conflict with what God’s Word promotes. Worldliness shows itself in a lifestyle that finds God’s ways lacking and His portion unsatisfying. Rather than being content with the heavenly banquet found in a focus on things above, a worldly person focuses on things of the earth. Social status, income brackets, retirement packages, and coolness become the gauge and holiness, righteousness and obedience are seen as burdens and not privileged pleasures.
It is not a question of whether or not you are culturally aware, but rather whether or not you find your fill in it. What satiates your soul ? Do you spend more time watching certain things on television than you do before God in the presence of His Word? It is not the watching of television that creates worldliness; it is the loving of what you see and hear and especially the lack of renewal from proper biblical meals that fosters a sickly disposition. What makes your life worldly is when you are CONFORMED to this world by cultural influences using its guidelines as your own and ignoring the prescriptions of God.
When we see marriage as an arrangement of convenience and not a life vow we have been conformed.
When we say that we have fallen out of love with our spouse then we prove that we never knew what marital love was in the first place.”
When we center our homes around our children instead of teaching them to center themselves around the home we’ve conformed to the world.
When we send our wives into the market place at the expense of our household and the important task of childrearing we have been conformed to the world.
When we turn sin into disorder and syndrome and disease we have been conformed to the world.
When we hold grudges against those we should forgive we have become the world.
When we only obey our authorities if they are good and nice to us than we are just like the world.
When we show favoritism towards certain social classes and ethnic groups and instead make others sit in the bleacher seats we have most assuredly been taken in to the world’s system of thought. These are sinful ways and we should flee them.
Keeping oneself unstained by the world does not mean never living in it or spending time in the culture. What it does mean; however, is that we should avoid being influenced into varying our lives to match the acceptance of it.
We should avoid adopting its gratifications as our own and we should resist the ways that violate the Lord’s will for our lives. We can attend museum openings, concerts, plays, and festivals and not be stained. Our pleasure and desire is found with and in Him and we should stay clear of things that press our weaknesses, but bringing the glory of Christ to the world means that we must actually be in it for that is where the residents live.
Where should the light shine? In the darkest of places. Christ ate with the dregs of his day and ministered in the despised regions of Galilee and Samaria yet he was not of this world. He was not called a glutton and winebibber because he ate granola at home and sipped non-alcoholic champagne. We, like Him, can partake in the culture without being of it.
May we all learn to sojourn with a mentality to proclaim, influence, witness, and live out the truth of our new birth and the reality of the Gospel. See you in the streets.
A few months ago my cousin Travis was murdered in the Atlanta area the result of an apparent drug encounter gone bad. I hadn’t seen him since I was about twelve years of age; he was about six years younger than myself.
This Sunday morning I found out that another cousin of mine Louie, Travis’ half-brother, was found dead as well. He was about thirty years old and committed suicide with a 9mm to the face.
Louie’s life was right out of the talk show circuit – divorced parents, abusive mother abandoned him, his father barely has a high school education, his distant step mom turns out to be a lesbian and hits the road, early alcohol abuse, and drug addiction. It’s almost a Springer script.
The last time I saw Louie he was covered in tattoos, diving in dumpsters, had a volatile relationship with his girlfriend, and was a committed street kid. He soon caught Hepatitis and began to show the signs of a failing liver and on November 18 at 1 a.m. somewhere in Idaho, when the physical ailments converged with Travis’ murder and his calloused relationship with his long time live-in girlfriend continued to sour, the tunnel light was snuffed out.
I can still see his wonderful smile when as children he and I did endless flips off of grandma’s diving board during summer visits. How I wish I could see that smile again.
I am reminded now yet again just how horribly sin-infested this world truly is and as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8 – all of creation groans to be redeemed. This life has nothing for us and we know not what hour we shall expire.
I am reminded once again that we need to see life as a vapor and live accordingly.
I am reminded that I haven’t spoken to all of my extended family about the hope found in Christ and my need to seek them out.
I am reminded that there is only one hope and one way to freedom from this life’s condemnation and dregs.
I am reminded that living out my faith in all aspects of thought, word, and deed is essential.
I am reminded that we who know our Lord Jesus have an obligation to obediently crawl through the trenches laid before us in the hope that some may know Him.
I am reminded that I am not God.
I am reminded that He counsels with no one but Himself.
I am reminded that I want to see Louie and Travis again.
I am reminded that I more than likely never will.
I am reminded that Providence is not mine.
Do you remember those stories of little Johnny juniors who had cute baby alligators as pets? And two missing dogs later they released it into the sewer system of the city where it became responsible for terrorizing amphibian tales? Well, there’s another pet problem just like it that involves a fish – the hypostomus plecostomus to be exact. These home aquarium dwellers are also known as sucker fish or sometimes they are affectionately called ‘garbage eaters’. It seems that fish tank owners have tossed this bottom feeding catfish into Floridian waters and have cause quite a mess.
Recently while in Apopka, Florida I was informed by a river guide that the plecostomus have taken over parts of the Wekiva River. Hundreds and hundreds of these former tank residents have grown into large sized adults and now rest happily on the river floor eating whatever meals come their way. What makes this particularly interesting is that I discovered this factoid in the middle of a conversation with a river guide. She was a twenty-something college student working for the park service who has an affinity for all things save-the-planetish. While talking about the park animals and nature in the area she began using Darwinian phrases and told me about how much of a nuisance the plecostomus are and that they simply spear them and throw them in the woods. The sucker fish make it unfair for other fish in the area to feed and so they gig them and toss them in the trees. That got me thinking.
There are signs all over the park telling us about the preservation of the black bear. There are signs telling us we cannot disturb the archeological native American artifacts that are in the park. And there are various other signs directing us to all sorts of conservationist things; however, no one gives a rip about poor Mr. Plecostomus. He is a nobody in an arbitrary species protection world and as a result, he is a great example of the inconsistency of those who claim to love nature and all that is in it.
I asked her why she was a species racist and why it is that we can’t just let survival of the fittest play itself out. We humans are diverting and interfering all the time with the survival of the fittest by protecting species that can’t hang with the rest of the world. If the black bear can’t survive because we are kicking him out of his habitat, then good bye Mr. Bear it was nice knowing you. Why should we care? Why mess with how things have ‘evolved’? Is this not ‘nature’ at work? But that’s just it isn’t it?
‘Care’. Now that’s an interesting word because it is exactly what the bear and the plecostomus don’t do. Is anyone really prepared to say that a fish cares about whether or not the bear exists? Is anyone going to propose that the deer hold round table discussions on the impact their indiscriminate feeding has on the crop growers of the area? Caring implies a moral code and we have no reason to believe that fish have one. So where did that notion of morality come from?
I challenged Ms. Twenty-something by asking her why it is that she protects one animal over another and why she has no qualms about gigging one to death and yet will march the courthouse to protect another. She said she had no idea. And so from there I sought to erode away her fraudulent mindset and nonsensical worldview that had been fed to her from the university and beyond with truth, science, and logical consistency only to have her end up in a blank zone.
She had no idea why she believed what she did. She said that she had never thought of things as I had put them and when I asked her where the new DNA information came from so that the new species in her evolutionary chain could be made, she had no idea and responded with a whimsical, “From thin air?” Indeed.
So I asked her to consider an alternative view of the world. I asked her to ponder that perhaps there is a God who has made all things and from Himself he has made man from one blood. And suppose that this God has created all the species you see today in wondrous beauty and glory as a self-evident monument to His deity. Perhaps all that you see and hear before you was actually created with all the appropriate genetic information needed to produce the variances per species as per His design and that the process of natural selection by like-kinds is refuted by no one, but is rather His plan for survival variation. This would explain all things without a need to grab thin air and it would acknowledge the One to whom we must give an account. And it would be rational, consistent, and fit well with our current science.
I wasn’t able to direct the rest of the conversation to Christ and I took that as a Divine intervention signaling that her head and heart could only bear so much. Yet, I did find a connection to her through knitting and crocheting, two things that my wife loves, and I got her email willingly after asking if I could have my wife email her some patterns and links for yarn as well as sending her more information on what we had discussed.
Presuppositionalism works with evidence. Ballista proofs shatter folly. Proper worldview creates road sign to Christ.
I pray that her heart finds the Savior.